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How are Women Presented in "Of Mice and Men"?

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Introduction

How women are presented in ?Of Mice and Men? ?Of Mice and Men? is set in a male environment where there are not many women presented. Curley?s wife is the single female character in the novel. We learn about several other women that are mentioned in the story - Lennie?s Aunt Clara, the women in the red dress and other two local brother keepers - who compose the entire portrait of women presented in the novel. The portrayal of women in ?Of Mice and Men? is unflattering. Steinbeck shows women as inferior and obedient. Curley?s wife, the only female character that plays a real role in the novel, has not given a name. She is known as ?Curley?s wife? being presented as belonging to her husband without having an identity on her own. ?Think I like to stick in that house alla time??, says she talking to the workers in the bunch-house. This shows how were expected the women to behave in the 1930s only to please their husbands and obey them. ...read more.

Middle

As the men on the ranch cannot settle down, a visit to a brothel is enough of women for them. They have no desire for a wife or a female companion. Women around them are reduced at /to being sexual objects. Introduced as a ?tart? who ?got the eye? by Candy and being considered a trouble-maker by the workers on the ranch, Curley?s wife begins to be presented in a sympathetic way as the story progresses. In the end of the novel, instead of being a trouble-maker, she is a victim. Not only a victim of a murder, but she is a victim of circumstances as well. Being called ?tart?, ?tramp? and ?jail bait? from the first time when she was seen, it is a sign of prejudice. Men judge her from the first sight without knowing her. Also being killed so easy by Lennie presents her as an extremely week human being. ...read more.

Conclusion

We can see that Lennie respects her from the way he talks to her in his dream in the last pages of the book. He calls her “ma’am”. However, she is a flat character as we never met her because she is not longer living. Steinbeck’s characters seem to come in pairs: George and Lennie, Aunt Clara and Curley’s wife, Candy and his dog and so on. Aunt Clara and Curley’s wife are the opposite. One has a name while the other hasn’t. Even the two local brothel keeper look like the opposite, one is cheaper and funny while the other wants the money and hasn’t got time for jokes. Finally, Steinbeck presents women as attractive. Slim calls Curley’s wife “Hi, good-looking”and Lennie find her “purty”. These quotes show that men on the ranch think she is a beautiful woman. Also she sees to know that and looks confident. Steinbeck presents only two types of women in Öf Mice and Men”- the mother and the whore. He uses characters dialogue, short sentences and rhetorical questions to show attitude towards women his writing. ...read more.

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